About 7 kms. (4.3 miles) southwest of Maras is Moray, a very unique archaeological site in the region. It is possible to arrive by car on the dusty road and the road that leaves the city. These are huge natural depressions or hollows in the surface of the soil that the Inkas used to build irrigation terraces around them. What is surprising is that the difference in average annual temperature between the top and bottom reaches even about 15 ° C (59 ° F) in the main depression which is approximately 30 meters (100 feet) deep.
NAME: Moray (circle)
ALTITUDE: 3 500 masl.
DISTANCE: 62 km.
In those natural formations, nature has created an environment, conditions or microclimates that in modern times
people create in greenhouses or greenhouses. Moray, due to its climatic conditions and many other characteristics, was an important center of domestication, acclimatization, and hybridization of wild plant species that were modified or adapted for human consumption. Therefore, it is a prototype of a greenhouse or experimental biological station, very advanced for its age that helped that the ancient American man could leave for humanity approximately 60% of the vegetal products that are consumed; so that the Andean man can consume three thousand different varieties of potatoes, a hundred and a half of corn and many other rich goods. However, there are still many enigmas on this site, puzzles that arise due to the lack of serious scientific research that could clarify current doubts. The structures found here are typically Inkan; although, some authors suggest that they are earlier, at least in the lower terraces.
One of the enigmas is the way in which the drainage of the water that flows through the aqueducts worked; It is suggested that there should be underground channels built by the bottom of the depressions that allow the drainage of the water. It is also argued that the bottom is on a very porous natural rock formation that allows water to seep into the interior of the earth; the truth is that even today, in the bottoms of the depressions there are no floods or floods in the rainy season. It is essential to carry out serious palynology studies; that is, a diverse analysis of the pollen samples found in Moray, so it will be possible to know the nature, species, quality and some other characteristics of the vegetables grown here.
Maras is a district of the Urubamba province, it can be reached through a paved road from kilometer 50 on the Qosqo – Chinchero – Urubamba highway. It is located to the west of Qosqo at an altitude of 3300 meters. (10824 feet);
The city was founded in the colonial era by Pedro Ortiz de Orue, and its important occupation began when the Inca Cusco nobles were dispossessed of their palaces in Qosqo and had to move to other small towns such as San Sebastián and Maras. In the same way, during the war started by Manko Inka, willing to recover his Quechua nation, he served as a bastion for the invaders who assaulted the city of Ollantaytambo, which was occupied by the Inka for 2 years.
Many of their houses are adorned with shields of the Spanish nobility in their lintels, which indicates the importance gained by the city in colonial times. At that time, it was an obligatory way for the muleteers and their mules to transport tropical products and especially coca leaves from the upper jungle to supply the markets of the city and the country. It was declared “Villa of San Francisco de Asís de Maras” (Villa: city or town that had certain privileges). At that time it was much more important than the settlement of Urubamba; but, today it is a city that languishes due to its isolation and development of modern life. It has a church made of sun-dried clay bricks, typical of the religious architecture of the town, in which the front patio is a cross carved in granite.
Inside the church, there are canvases of the Cusqueña school that represent the Apostles, and some others very nice, being the artist the Quechua painter Antonio Sinchi Roqa Inka. He was originally from Maras and painted carefully for his church; He was a contemporary of Bishop Mollinedo y Angulo and became famous in the mid-seventeenth century.
SALINERAS (Salt Mines)
Towards the northwest of the village of Maras are the famous “salineras”, which can be reached by walking along the
path or by car on a dusty road that is almost useless in the rainy season. The “salineras” of Maras, which some people call “salt mines”, are made up of around 3000 small pools with an average area of 5 m² built on the side of the mountain “Qaqawiñay”. People fill or “irrigate” the pools during the dry season every 3 days, with salt water emanating from a natural spring located at the top of the complex, so that when the water evaporates, the salt it contains will slowly solidify. This process will be carried out for approximately one month until a considerable volume of solid salt is obtained; about 10 cms. (4 inches) in height from the floor. That solid salt is beaten in this way granulated, then it is packed in plastic bags and sent to the markets of the region; today that salt began to be treated with iodine, therefore, its consumption is not harmful.